Cubs manager David Ross signaled to the bullpen with the winning run in scoring position and called in newcomer Josh Osich.
The Cubs had added Osich, a left-handed reliever, to the active roster earlier in the day, after acquiring him from the Red Sox at the trade deadline. In his Cubs debut, Osich proved Ross was right to trust him in high-leverage situations, as the Cubs beat the Pirates 8-7 in extra innings Tuesday.
“That was really nice,” Cubs manager David Ross said of Osich’s performance. “He looked like he was calm, in control of the moment.”
Osich entered the game in the ninth inning. He replaced right-hander Rowan Wick with the game tied at six runs apiece, two runners on bases and one out.
Up next for the Pirates was left-handed designated hitter Colin Moran, followed by rookie Ke’Bryan Hayes. The latter was making his major league debut but had also hit the game-tying home run in his previous at-bat.
Osich threw two cutters to Moran and got him to fly out to left field. Then, he struck out Hayes looking.
Due to the 2020 extra innings rule, Osich wasn’t rewarded with a clean 10th inning. Instead, the Pirates – as the Cubs had the frame before – started the 10th with a runner on second base.
The Cubs had taken the lead in the top half of inning with a sacrifice fly from Jason Heyward. So, Osich stepped on the mound again with Hayes on second and a one-run lead to protect.
Osich got Adam Frazier to ground out to second base, but Hayes advanced to third. Then, Anthony Alford chopped a high-bouncing ground ball in front of the plate. Osich charged, fielded it cleanly and flipped the ball to catcher Willson Contreras.
Hayes got under the tag, but the play was close. So close that Ross challenged the call, however unsuccessfully.
“He gets, of all things, a number back to him and a speedy runner at third,” Ross said.
But with a hitless inning, Osich had still made a strong first impression.
Said Ross: “That’s a nice extra weapon to have.”